Case Study: Jeremy Scott and His Power in Influencing Opposition to Fashion Norms

By Jennifer Liu

Fashion Designer Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott is a fashion designer that graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York. He moved to Paris in 1995 to make a name for himself in the fashion world and started his own line by 1997. First garnering attention for being ‘the Midwesterner’ in Paris with a quirky and strong sense of personal style, Scott effectively and quickly put his name out in the fashion world with his distinctive style and opposition to fashion. He has evolved tremendously as a designer: from a new comer onto the Paris fashion scene mostly seen as purely entertainment and a break from ‘serious’ fashion, now still holding to the idea that fashion is fun but also currently designing and collaborating with major commercial brands like Adidas and Longchamp, that have helped expand his name as a designer on an international platform and made his distinctive designs recognizable and understood on a global level.

Scott's 2011 line for Adidas

In Allison Gill’s essay on “Deconstruction Fashion,” she states that deconstruction should not be always be taken as a negative aspect of fashion, as it so usually is viewed, but rather that new forms of fashion are being explored and constructed through the different and new perspectives that fashion is being looked at from. However, because deconstruction and opposition are so usually looked at with negativity and intolerance, Scott’s emergence onto the fashion scene and the noise he was creating was not something critics took to in the most pleasant of ways. Fashion being a world of codes susceptible to change and redefining, is a place where designers have to constantly be “forming and deforming, constructing and destroying, making and undoing clothes” (Gill 491).

Wing Shoes for Adidas

Scott is doing just that, stretching the codes of fashion by asking what it is exactly that defines one article of clothing. For example, his Wing shoes for Adidas are expanding on the limits to what a shoe should be. Fashion is a more relevant art form that reflects the current cultural and social norms and codes and with fashion having such a quick turnover rate, it reinforces that codes are constantly changing: “In fashion, all signs are exchanged just as, on the market, all products come into play as equivalents... Fashion is the pure speculative stage in the order of sings (Baudrillard 467).” Hegemonies and values change over time and with Scott so involved in a lot of pop-culture during and contributing towards the redefining of codes, he is in a position where he has the agency to illustrate new social codes through fashion.

Jeremy Scott Line Fall 2011

According to Malcolm Barnard, fashion as an expression communicates “the idea that something going on inside someone’s head, individual intention, is somehow externalized and made present in a garment or an ensemble” and if Scott is able to create products that the younger generation wants, then he has the power to deliver it to them successfully even if they differ from the previous hegemonic ideas of what is acceptable in fashion especially since fashion may also communicate “a society’s social or economic structure, or... a culture’s values (Barnard 174).”Perhaps Jeremy Scott is not the most recognizable name in fashion by himself, but his number of sponsorships with such a wide range of companies, his cross-media dabbling and his highly recognizable designs that are uniquely his, Scott’s designs reach a large array of buyers and viewers, enough so that his designs and playing around with codes are making a statement and accepted by the younger generation of trendy people that he has legitimate influence on the fashion world. One does not need to be absorbed within the fashion industry in order to have power; power can come from the outside as well and it’s a great power when a designer’s ideas can work their way through society through fashion.

Clip: Jeremy Scott's Fashion Show on Fashion